Organizers of Donovan Park pavilion project seeking community input

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Organizers of a proposed pavilion at Peoria’s Donovan Park are seeking the public’s input.

Sara Connor-James, president of the board of non-profit group Pavilion in the Park, described plans to transform 18 acres of Donovan Park into a performing arts center as “a community builder”.

“We’ll be attracting all kinds of people from all over the city, there will be entertainment from all over the country and the world, and it’ll attract business,” Connor-James said.

Back in October, the non-profit retracted a land-use agreement for the project presented to the Peoria Park District. Connor-James said the decision was made to give organizers time to discuss the plans with supporters and critics of the plans.

“We are going to show the park board, the majority of Peorians, when they hear the facts about will love it because the boost it’s going to make to the community,” Connor-James said.

Executive director of the Peoria Park District, Emily Cahill, said receiving public input is a key step for organizers.

“To make sure they hear from all the voices to make sure this is something they want to fight for, that’s really really important,” Cahill said.

Cahill said the input is also helpful for the Park District.

“Any time a group wants to invest what in this case is $20 million dollars or more, we have to fully vet that,” Cahill said.

Connor-James said the pavilion will be an enhancement to what Donovan Park is all about.

“It’ll bring people to see the sculpture garden, to Cyd’s, to walk to picnic, to have entertainment under the stars,” Connor-James said.

Organizers said the pavilion in the park will be privately funded and will not impact taxpayers. Connor-James said the group plans to resubmit plans to the Park District board in early 2022.

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